Best location for foaling

Is it better to foal out mares in a field or in a double sized stall? I have a 2 stall barn. The middle wall between stalls is removable so I can turn it into a double sized stall.

My mare isn’t due until April so I’m expecting nice weather. I’m not certain I need to take the stall apart. If I did take the wall down, I would probably need to remove the mats and level everything. Right now my stalls all slope to the front. Ideally, I would prefer it to be level, or slightly sloped to the back as it makes cleaning easier.

Obviously, if I didn’t open up the stall, my mare (and future foal) will be left out with access to the run in.

You need to decide how safe your property is to predators which roam during the night. Not just wild animals but also neighborhood dogs can harm newborn foals.
At a breeding farm where I worked we always tried to get mare into a double foaling stall at night in the barn when we believed foaling was getting close. Sometimes the mare fooled us and dropped a foal in the middle of the night out in a big pasture.
One dramatic difference I noticed between foals born outside versus in the barn, was that the ones born outside were unbelievably more unfolded and racing all over the pasture by sun up.
They looked more like 2 week old foals rather than newborns, ability wise. It was a dramatic difference.
Remember you want easy access to mare and foal in case something goes wrong and they need help during foaling or shortly after. It’s also easier to check on baby when in an enclosed space.
The little ones born out in a big pasture tended to be a little wilder initially if they needed medical help.
Given a choice I’d opt to keep mare and foal safe in an enclosed stall safe from predators.

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How big are your stalls? How big is the mare? Stalls are nicer for several reasons… “light” being one of them, presuming that your stalls have light bulbs in them. Shelter from rain. Not having the foal born “under the fence” (if the mare lays down to foal next to the fence). Oh yes, mares can choose the least well thought out options. Pasture, if in “perfect” condition (clean grass, no mud, not raining) can be fine too, if the mare manages to do the job without help from humans (which sometimes they do, day or night). So, it really “depends” on what is available to you to choose from, and on luck. I have preferred stalls, because I put a camera on them to watch from the house/bed. But I always have big stalls which are well suited for this.
Good luck!

All else equal, a flat, grassy dry pasture is healthier for the foalm and as Marla said, it encourages a lot more and earlier movement from the foal.

But they aren’t always the safest, either due to predators, fencing a foal can roll under, not being visible enough to the human, and more

You can expect nice weather all you want, but in many areas April can be pretty volatile with Spring storms.

How big is the run-in? If it’s double stall-ish in size, is there a way to keep them both locked in if necessary?

How big is the associated pasture?

FWIW, I removed the center wall of my matted stalls, and didn’t bother moving mats around at all, I just filled the middle with screenings from my ring and called it a day. The current slope of things isn’t a concern for the mare or foal

You need to plan to foal in the stall so everything is prepared but can foal outside if conditions allow. Too late to get the stall ready if she goes down in the middle of a thunderstorm.


When :poop: goes down and something goes wrong while foaling out in the field, it is NOT fun.

Two of my worst memories while foaling on the farm were with mares who foaled outside. One had missed twins and a wicked dystocia that resulted in the death of all 3. The other had a happier ending but was not fun dealing with a dummy foal and colicking mare in an unseasonable freezing rain. I can’t say this for sure, but that mare and foal may have avoided hospitalization if the birthing conditions were more hospitable.

ETA: being outside wasn’t the cause of either, but it made the situation 1000x worse.